Can Returning to Work Too Soon Hurt Your Personal Injury Claim?
It can take several weeks or longer to recover from an auto accident injury. Some of the more severe injuries require surgery and other types of medical treatment, and this could mean a lengthy rehabilitation period. During this time, injured individuals are often anxious to get back to work.
Being out of work because of a personal injury means no steady paycheck, which can cause a lot of financial strain on injury victims and their families. It also means being out of your regular routine; e.g. not being able to go to the workplace every day, not being able to socialize with coworkers, etc., Being at home every day not doing anything can get very boring after a while.
Under these circumstances, it is understandable that an injured individual would want to get back to their job as soon as possible. Their employer might also be encouraging them to come back, which adds to their motivation.
So, when is it a good time to go back to work after an accident injury?
There is no standard answer to that question that applies in all circumstances. Every case is different, and the severity of an injury can vary widely from one case to another. In addition, each body reacts differently to physical trauma.
The best advice is to follow your doctor’s recommendations and do not participate in any physical activity (including your job) without medical clearance to do so. You should also work closely with your attorney to understand all of the legal ramifications of your decisions.
What if you go back to work too soon after the injury? Can doing so damage your personal injury claim?
The short answer is, “yes”, it can hurt your legal claim. But not only that, an early return to work could also cause you to experience a significant physical setback as well.
What Could Go Wrong if You Go Back to Work Too Soon?
As we touched on in the previous section, going back to work without being cleared by your doctor could be used against you in your personal injury claim. The insurance company from which you are seeking compensation for your injury will most likely see an early return to work as evidence that your injuries are not really as bad as you say they are. This means they will want to pay you less for losses such as pain-and-suffering and emotional distress, claiming that you could not be suffering all that much if you are able to work again.
Keep in mind that insurance companies are always looking for ways that they can diminish the value of a legal claim and pay out less money for the negligent actions of their insureds. Insurance companies are in business to make money, so it only makes sense that they would do everything they can to protect their bottom line. Do not give them any additional ammunition that they could use against you.
The second and more important reason you should not return to work too soon after an injury is because it could jeopardize your physical health. You might feel like you are ready to go back, but if a doctor says that you are not, there is probably a good reason they are giving you this advice.
For example, maybe your job involves certain physical movements that you have not been doing while you have been out of work, such as lifting heavy materials or various types of repetitive work. If you go back too soon and working re-aggravates your injury, this could significantly worsen your condition and set your recovery back for an extended period of time. To add insult to injury, the insurance company might refuse to pay the medical expenses that you incur because of the injury being re-aggravated.
The Importance of Legal Representation After a Personal Injury
Issues like when to return to work come up frequently in a personal injury claim. And as we talked about earlier, insurance companies are always looking for ways to trip up a claimant, so they can pay out as little as possible for their injuries. This is why it is always best to work with an experienced attorney who can guide you through the claims process and help you avoid any potential pitfalls.
If you have been injured because of someone else’s negligence and the injury occurred in Alabama, M. Adam Jones and Associates is here to help. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation and case assessment with a member of our legal team.